Tag Archives: Travel

7 Days Done, 7 Lessons Learned

  1. Bring your own bags when you go grocery shopping.  It is 5 pence for each bag you use.  So unless you are buying meat or something that really needs a plastic bag, bring your own reusable bag.
  2. They do not seem to have applesauce in the grocery stores, which is devastating.
  3. Items expire sooner.  Nothing we buy lasts for more than five days, other than Oreo cookies 🙂  Okay, maybe a few other items but it seems food is bought more often here.
  4. When crossing the street, the loud beeping means you can cross now.  Definitely startling the first time you hear it.
  5. The regular M and M’s are made using a different kind of chocolate or are just different over here, but still very good.
  6. The tube is not air conditioned.  So this summer in NYC, I was sweating standing on the platform but then cooled off once in the car.  Here, I am fine on the platform but sweating once I enter the car as it has been in the 70’s here most days and has barely rained.
  7. Most of the grocery stores only have one cashier and then 20 self service check out machines.  I love self checkout so this is lovely.  And if you don’t want to spend time sorting coins, you can just put them in the machine to pay and it tells you how much you still need.  If you put in a Euro by accident, it will spit it back out.  IMG_0838.jpg(Photo is from King’s Cross station)

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First Few Days Recap

The days are flying by as it’s already almost Thursday (and I still need to complete my reading for tomorrow!) of the first week of class.  Yesterday, we went to a pub as a class for dinner, where I had Chicken and Leek Pie (basically chicken pot pie).  It was very good and slightly bigger than the portion I had in Orlando a month ago.  I was not able to finish this one even though I was starving! I was not a fan of the mash but the vegetables were actually pretty good and were well cooked.  I am starting to miss having a bucket load of ice in my water though as you barely get two ice cubes here and I enjoy my water ice cold.  I am the American who asks for more ice, especially when it is 75 degrees and there is no AC!

Before we got to the pub, a group of us went to Big Ben and the London Eye to do some exploring after our field trip at the Museum of London.  We walked all around and even passed where my family and I saw a show last year in the Udderbelly.  Along the river it was very lively with music and street shows going on before the London Eye.  We are going on the Eye as a class at the end of the trip and we did not have much time before dinner so we just walked by it this time.

The Museum of London was just as I had remembered it with a lot on the Great Fire.  It was a little larger though and had a few exhibits such as one on the London Olympic Cauldron that were not there when I last visited in 2008.  We spent a solid two hours there before regrouping.

Today, we had class in the morning as usual and then went to the Museum of London Docklands in the afternoon.  The past few days have been sunny and the perfect temperature.  I brought my fleece but did not end up needing to put it on.  It was a neat museum but I am not going into the shipping industry anytime soon.  I stopped to take a photo near an Underground sign in the Museum and felt like I was Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune with how I ended up posing.  After our adventures all around the city, we ended up cooking tacos for dinner.  All three of us had to call our moms to ask questions about cooking the chicken so we laughed about that, but it was a success!  We had some wine with dinner as well before calling it a night.  Now I have to get to my reading for tomorrow, before it gets too late!


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Peaceful Packing: A True Oxymoron

img_0673Packing, at least for me, is not peaceful.  All my items are currently on the floor in the bedroom waiting to be stuffed into my suitcase.  I should’ve kept track of what I packed two years ago when I went to Oxford for two weeks for a summer program.  My professor for the London seminar sent us an email and told us three times in the email to pack lightly.  Well packing lightly for a whole semester is a challenge (even for me who never overpacks when going to Walt Disney World).  I do not know how my friends who are international students studying in the US do it every year.  Shoes take up so much room!

Packing my carry on will be interesting as I always try to stuff as much as possible into my carry on.  I’ll need my traditional plane snacks (animal crackers) but won’t be flying JetBlue so I won’t get my favorite Blue Chips.  I think my sister has some saved from our last Florida flight so maybe she will let me take those along…

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Getting Ready for Studying Abroad

I’m finally starting to get ready for studying abroad in England in the fall! I booked my flights, booked my first hotel, and have started looking for a trip journal to use for the adventure.  Well actually my dad really helped with the first two. I have also started making a list of things I will definitely need to pack such as a raincoat and sneakers.

My next task now that my flights are booked is to figure out where I want to travel during my travel break. I think I would like to go to Madrid, Florence, and Berlin but Amsterdam is an option as well.  Poland is also another option (mainly so I can have real pierogi in Poland!). My travel break unfortunately is only a week long so I’m trying to fit a lot (probably too much) but I want to see new places! I know I’ll do weekend trips to Scotland and Ireland and maybe Wales but I’ve been to 2 out of those 3 places before. I have a list from my English professors on sites to see in northern England and around London as well. Oh and I hope to get involved in the societies (aka clubs) at the university I’ll be studying at. It’s a good thing I like being busy.

Beside figuring out some of my travel plans, I also need to figure out housing at the university, read the pre assigned chapters for my seminar (which online and I much prefer reading books in paperback form so I’m procrastinating getting a jump on that), actually sit down and create a budget, make a list of everything I want to see in London since I’m only there for a limited time, and coordinate with friends who are also in London from my high school when we will meet up. Oh and packing of course. But that can’t be done for at least a month thank goodness!


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Worldly Wednesday: Lake Placid, NY

A couple of years ago, I visited Lake Placid, NY with my family.   Probably around 10 years ago, we each wrote a list of our top destinations to go over the next few years and Lake Placid was on more than one of our list so we went there for a long weekend.

We enjoyed taking the elevator up to the top of the ski jump, which is in the second photo.  I do not understand how Olympic athletes went down this though because it was so steep.  I am glad I never got into winter sports too much.  We went to the museum as well, which is where the third photo of my sister and the mascot was taken.  We saw the goal that the US team scored in to win the Miracle on Ice game against the Soviet Union.

The Cottage was a great restaurant we ate at for two nights where I had a fantastic beef barley soup in a bread bowl.   Whoever invented bread bowls was a genius.  My dad and I went skiing on Whiteface Mountain one day which was very fun.  I (think) I am improving on skiing.  I even got on the ski lift on my own!  (Besides my fear of animatronic dinosaurs, I also have a fear of ski lifts)  We went ice skating and had a fun long weekend.  I definitely recommend visiting Lake Placid for a long weekend, but you do not need to go for more than 5 days.


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Omaha Part 2

After landing in Omaha’s small airport, it was easy getting to the hotel but then we were hungry so decided to go to a nearby tavern.  Best choice of the trip in my opinion.  I had not had a full meal all day and the salad was absolutely amazing.  So many flavors, very colorful, and exceeded my expectations.  I am not a huge salad person but will occasionally have them (such as at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom) and this salad was delicious.  Here is a photo to make you hungry while reading.  IMG_4354

I was in Omaha for a learning trip, so I won’t blog about the daily stuff but I do want to highlight when I took a trip to the Joslyn Art Museum.  I would highly recommend visiting this museum if you are in Omaha.  I was not there for long unfortunately but was able to see Degas’ Little Dancer mold, as well as a few other pieces.  If I am back in Omaha one day though I will definitely stop in again to see more of the collection.

And finally, I would like to highlight my postcard adventure.  So, I bought postcards when I visited the Joslyn Art Museum because unlike New York City or any large city where there is a tourist shop on every corner with postcards, I could not find one within walking distance of my hotel.  Therefore I bought them there and they were very nice postcards.  I wrote them over the next two days and figured I would mail them the day before I left from the hotel.  Every hotel I have stayed at whether it has been in Boston or Florida or even the Isle of Skye in Scotland (which is fairly remote with only a few roads) has had stamps and mailed my postcards or mailed them for free.  But, my hotel only had packages.  So I could have mailed a postcard in a box…because that makes sense.  Then the hotel told me to try the bank, which was not open when I went and then I tried when it opened and they did not have them.  I resorted to asking at the airport and the employee sent me to the bank which was closed.  So then I had to walk down to the bookstore and then the employee couldn’t figure out how to enter the stamps in the computer.  Does no one send postcards or need stamps anymore?  I finally got my postcards stamped but then found out the mailbox was on the completely other side of the airport and my friends were waiting for me to go through security so I gave up.  I had to mail them when I got back to campus.

I love sending postcards and it has always been easy to do so until this trip.  Only thing I really did not like about Omaha was that running around.

The flights back were interesting because it was super windy.  So the second flight from Chicago, we actually landed on the honor code.  The flight attendants had barely passed out drinks, I had to gulp mine down as they quickly came around with garbage bags and the captain came on saying we were preparing for a windy, bumpy landing.  Then the flight attendants sat down way earlier than normal and came on the speakers saying “We will experience turbulence and the captain has asked us to get seated right away so we will land on the honor system.  Please make sure your seats and tray tables are in the upright position and tell your neighbor to do so if their seats and tray tables are not upright.”  That was a first.

That flight felt like Tower of Terror a little bit.  But then I was on my way back to school and all was good.

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Omaha Part 1

I thought I would highlight my recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska briefly because I had some interesting travel experiences and went to a new destination.

My trip was all planned out with shuttles, flights, and a hotel booked.  I woke up early to catch the 6am shuttle from school after not sleeping much through the night for fear of missing the alarm.  Well this is the second travel experience I have had in the last year where I have learned that you can plan out travel plans to the minute and yet the unexpected happens.  I was surprisingly relaxed in the shuttle once I realized I might miss my flight but I would figure it out.  I was stuck in traffic 10 miles from the airport.  Thankfully the accident cleared up and I made it through security and then ran through the terminal to the gate.  I had a few minutes to run to the bathroom, grab a snack and water and then I was boarding.  My original plan had been to get to the airport, window shop in the Vineyard Vines store, and then grab a leisurely breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts.  Bye plan.

First flight was fine and I landed in Chicago for a layover.  I easily navigated O’Hare, which I believe is a much better airport than JFK.  Almost every set of seats had electrical outlets to charge devices, the bathrooms were clean, and there was a variety of places to eat.  The signs also made it very easy to get to the other terminal whereas in JFK, I don’t even know where to go when I arrive.

I grabbed a bagel and french fries.  The bagel was surprisingly good but the french fries were sub par with no salt!  Second flight was on a much smaller plane and the poor flight attendant could not even stand up.  I always forget that JetBlue is one of the only airlines where you know you will have a personal TV and items to watch for free.  I love to watch the flight map and know the elevation but this flight I could not do so.  So I just listened to my ancient iPod nano and the flight went by quickly.  I stared out the window at the fields as we descended.  Part 2 will detail my impressions of Omaha. things I saw during my short time there, and my postcard adventure.  Yes, you read that right.  Postcard adventure.


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